From the beginning of childhood, we have been subjected to ideals. Additionally, several of these idealise are often delusions. Besides, we often internalise these ideals and attempt to live accordingly to them, which also constructs our perspectives, attitudes, behaviours, and path in life. On the other hand, these ideals are not entirely negative, and the majority of the time, they contribute to intentionally or unintentionally make us develop and grow. The ideals are often influenced or constructed by individuals or circumstances we have developed an admiration for, which can either be conducive or prevent an individual from reaching their goals.
The main reason ideals can be conducive for an individual’s growth is that it contributes to clarity and a reason for improvement. Based on personal experience, ideals contributed to a solid moral compass in adulthood, which has been beneficial for my progress in various areas of life. For example, my internalised ideals forced me to become a more inventive, professional, and compassionate individual. The ideals or figures I have internalised throughout my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood have been parental figures, superheroes, and spiritual teachers. On the other hand, these figures structured an ego ideal that has heavily influenced my behaviours and standards for myself. Ego ideal is a psychoanalytic term used to describe an aspect of our personality or ego that often identifies with parental standards, which often are traits an individual sincerely admires and desire to emulate. Also, the process of identification or structuring of the ideals happens unconsciously during the early years of development.
The issue with ideals often is that they can prevent or sabotage individuals to pursue their desires, advancements, people, etc. Mainly, the ideal often portrays an unrealistic or deluded image of people that are admired. As a result, the extreme idealisation contributes to feelings of guilt or shame each time we fall short of that exemplary state, which is impossible to maintain in the long term. The excess feelings of guilt or shame can often lead to self-sabotage because one might begin to believe or feel a level of unworthiness. On the other hand, if we adopt a more realistic or less deluded perception of the people we admire, respect, and love, they are removed from the pedestal we have unconsciously placed them on.
Decreasing ideals often allows us to adopt a more comprehensive view and become more understanding of each individual we encounter. Simultaneously, a more comprehensive perspective often develops a larger capacity for tolerance and acceptance. Based on personal experience, the newly adopted perspective often allows us to view the idealised people in our lives as imperfect. On the other hand, the view of imperfection also develops a level of hope and reassurance that despite our failures or shortcomings, we are capable of reconciliation and worthy of achieving our aspirations. Last of all, the world and universe we live in is highly complex, and the majority of the time, we are only able to view a small part of others’ lives, backgrounds, and upbringings. In other words, allow yourself and other people some amount of grace.
How to stop Idealising others?